Nursing home in 'chaos' as residents evacuated

RESIDENTS from a prominent Gold Coast retirement home are being evacuated from the facility which has reportedly gone into administration.

Gold Coast Health was this afternoon notified that a majority of the 70 residents of the Earle Haven Retirement had to be moved from the private facility or risk homelessness.

It is understood the evacuation does not effect residents in independent living units at this time.

Earle Haven management have not responded to the Gold Coast Bulletin for comment.

Earle Haven Retirement Village.
Earle Haven Retirement Village.

The facility's care contractor Help Street claimed they were given until August 9th to vacate, less than eighteen months after they started working at Earle Haven.

The original contract with owner Arthur Miller was allegedly for 5-10 years.

CEO of Help Street Kristofer Bunker said the situation was "gut-wrenching".

"We've done a lot of work here at our own expense because we saw it as a business venture," he said.

"We tried to meet with (Arthur Miller) yesterday but he would only speak to us through his lawyer."

A nursing contractor claimed the director of the retirement village Arthur Lopes Miller told staff he would "not pay a cent," following weeks of payment disputes.

"It is chaos," the nurse told the Bulletin.

"QAS are managing the home to ensure the care of residents."

"Employees were told they can't be paid, we ourselves have not been paid so staff opted to leave."

The Bulletin understands a medical supply company is also on site retrieving their materials.

Another Help Street employee Elizabeth O'Loughlin said staff and residents have been left bewildered.

"There were residents in there I had to say goodbye to today and they just cried," she said.

"It's been handled very poorly. I think it's been in the works for a while.

"I'm out of a job now, we've all got families.

"We served breakfast, we served lunch and then (my boss) came along and told us after lunch to pack up and leave."

The Gold Coast woman who was visiting her two parents in their 90s at the retirement village said she was shocked to discover she was not allowed inside.

"It is disgusting, all of the fridges were gone, no one knows where the medications are," she told the Bulletin.

"My parents are both in their 90s and have dementia, we haven't been told anything."

"We have no idea where they are going, or what they are doing tonight where they are getting moved to or if we can get some answers.

Ambulances at Arthur Earle Retirement Village. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Ambulances at Arthur Earle Retirement Village. Picture: Tertius Pickard

The woman said staff are also unable to elaborate on the situation at hand.

"It is disgusting, really we have stories of it going into receivership but we have been told about nothing else.

"There are ambulances everywhere and police staff have been deployed from the Gold Coast Hospital."

Kristofer Bunker (global CEO Help Street) with staff wait inside the Earle Haven. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Kristofer Bunker (global CEO Help Street) with staff wait inside the Earle Haven. Picture: Tertius Pickard

A spokesman for Gold Coast Health said they working closely with Queensland Ambulance to ensure all of the residents are moved off site.

A number for residents have extreme dementia and another 30 per cent are estimated to be immobile.

"We have a number of staff and ambulances on site for a medical response to ensure all residents are being cared for," a Gold Coast Health spokeswoman said.

"We will bring patients who need more acute care to the hospital and are certainly liaising with other hospitals and nursing homes on the Gold Coast to ascertain vacancies and ensure everyone is safe.

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Staff inside Earle Haven. Picture: Tertius Pickard
Staff inside Earle Haven. Picture: Tertius Pickard

Gold Coast Health is also working with family members of Earle Haven Retirement patients to ensure they are aware of the situation.

A number of social workers are at the facility to assist families on-site.

"It is a private company that runs through a private provider, we were given the notification this afternoon and rapidly deployed our care team on site," she said.

"This is obviously a difficult situation for families."

A Queensland police spokeswoman said police were called to the retirement home about 2pm in "relation to a disturbance".

It is understood a crew of officers were there to "keep the peace".

Earle Haven Retirement is a residential aged care facility with independent living units.

The retirement village was founded by prominent Gold Coast developer Arthur Earle, who, along with Robin Loh, built Robina.

Arthur Earle.
Arthur Earle.

He first came to the Gold Coast in the 1960s and developed significant portion's of the city's west. It's understood their family no longer has any involvement with the facility.

The millionaire businessman, whose projects continue to stand in Nerang, was one of the city's most famous residents.

He died in 1998 at age 84.



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